Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Resilience and Renewal, the Promise of a New Year!

  “She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.” – Elizabeth Edwards

2020 provided a quite incredible ending to the first decade of the 21st Century. It was far more than protests and demonstrations reaching alarming heights, coming from many directions, while a shift in national politics was unfolding. The Worldwide Pandemic unleashed a flood of accelerating Trends within an evolving Universe and the unfolding of the Labor Market. While buying products online and long distance electronic communications were already on the rise, they were both accelerated dramatically with the shutdown of many storefront operations and the growth of significant domestic sequestration. The “official” unemployment rate shot up from a pre-COVID February number around 3.5% to a whopping 14.7% during April and even at the end of the year was still over double the early year numbers, hovering around 6.7%. Of course, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics only counts those in the labor force which they defined as people who have looked for a job in the last four weeks. The real unemployment rate according to TheBalance, a part of the Dotdash.com publishing family, offers calculations that include the underemployed, marginally attached and discouraged workers. They reported a 22.8% rate at the April height and an end of year rate still hovering around 12%.

Last summer on 60 Minutes, Taiwanese-born American Educated computer scientist Dr. Kai-Fu Lee explained how Artificial Intelligence will continue to replace repetitive functions on jobs, making the rather startling statistic of a loss at “40% of Jobs Worldwide during the next 15 years. “ Dr. Lee’s doctoral dissertation was about a computer speech recognition system. He worked as an executive with Apple, Silicon Graphics, Microsoft and Google on way to launching Beijing based Sinovation Ventures.  His latest book is “AI Super-powers China, Silicon Valley, New World Order.” 

As businesses were scrambling to survive the loss of COVID 19 sequestered employees and customers,  Time ran the story, “Millions of Americans Have Lost Jobs in the Pandemic – And Robots and AI Are Replacing Them Faster Than Ever.” 

Manufacturing is still alive and has been showing growth in the US Economy, but it is not because of returning employers that left for a less expensive 3rd world unskilled labor force. To function in a high wage country, factories must be high tech and employees are no longer laborers with low education. Employers are advertising for people with”

  •   Knowledge of mechanical and electrical engineering processes
  •   Ability to work with computerized systems
  •   Ability to read and write machine programming code
  •   Ability to read manufacturing blueprints
  •   Ability to operate automated manufacturing systems
  •   Understanding of hydraulic, pneumatic, and electrical systems

~  https://www.softwareadvice.com/resources/manufacturers-skills-in-demand/

Employment and Career Development Counseling most certainly will be in demand  as the economy continues to evolve. While there is a flood of high tech options entering human consciousness, the draconian scenario of being overrun by superior androids, are not predicted by respectable computer scientists as part of the near future.  AI is great at collecting and analyzing huge amounts of data and able to make predictions about human behavior (what we are likely to look at and perhaps buy). But computers do not have emotions or feeling, cannot experience empathy and really are not creative.

As counselors we listen to the stories of those we serve and help them reframe their perceptions into healthier approaches of interacting with the universe. Of course we can appreciate the evolving technology, as available tools to help us provide the best possible information. Because it is our trade we have the experience navigating career and employment systems and can facilitate an easier journey for our customers. Traditionally employment counseling has been described as Choice, Change or Adjustment. We help people find their optimum path, make decisions about what they want to do. Sometimes they are in transition, needing a new job or training to move in a different career direction. Sometimes the conversations are about behavioral modifications or attitude adjustments to function better, stay employed, and grow positively within an organization.

To take our profession to a level of artistry, I believe we need to understand labor market trends, make a commitment to life long learning, and associate with people who are embracing optimistic and healthy expressions of existence. Fundamentally however, at the heart of counseling is an ability to deliver kindness with unconditional positive regard. We feel the energy when we touch a soul and know when we are truly engaged in healing.

There is an incredible amount of work to be done and new opportunities are continually emerging. We choose our sources of information and together we are all contributing to the ongoing evolution of the universe.

Every action in our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.                                                          ~Edwin Hubbel Chapin

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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Thoughts on the Assessment Process

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.  ~    Carl Jung

As I write these words, I am a senior citizen, sequestered on my wildlife sanctuary homestead. A Pandemic is causing the shutdown of the world around me.  Health authorities are responding to a respiratory illness called COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus. Scientific leaders are reporting that we do not yet have adequate tools to access, much less halt this highly contagious threat, especially to the elderly and others with compromised immunity.  The major prescription is social distancing and hand washing. Economists report a growing number facing unemployment as businesses are on a roller coaster in steep decline. With major cities going to lockdown we are moving quickly towards depression. This is unpresented in my lifetime and the future is uncertain to say the least.

I started my Counseling Career within the NJ Department of Labor working for the Public Employment Services. Developed during the 1930s the GATB (General Aptitude Test Battery) was the test we used supposedly to assess “Cognitive (G,V,N), Perceptual (S,P,Q) and Psychomotor (K,F,M) abilities.  GATB Career Assessment Research  Back then, the last three decades of the 20th Century, if people were interested in funded training they were routinely “tested” as a step in the process and it was not uncommon to test applicants if requested by employers.  I had coworkers who marketed our services to employers, at no cost because we were the government, which served our needs to protect our jobs helping our job applicants find gainful employment. I had coworkers that were “certified” who administered and monitored the standardized, timed tests, in specified environments. I did not test, but I was taught to interpret the results.

I was serving a client who scored well above average in eight of the tests and well below average in one. It did not make sence to me and I thought, unless perhaps subconsciously she had self-sabotaged.  Every training and every job had a minimum set of numbers people had to hit for consideration and her one low score eliminated virtually all options. As I recall that was the theme of our counseling session. I did remember from graduate school in the course on statistics, that while hitting numbers on achievement tests and aptitude tests “proved” a person possessed the ability, not hitting the numbers was not proving otherwise. I read an article the other day about coronavirus testing and the statistical possibility of false negatives and false positives.  Yes, I know they are dealing with a life threatening situation, but my understanding, my experience, is through the lens of employment counseling.

I suppose employers who used our tests to “ensure” they had “qualified” prospective new employees, were putting a lot of faith in the value of the procedure. However, I remembered a fraternity brother in college who had lost considerable money at the race track and found it necessary to apply for a position at the local convenience store. He had been given a test supposedly to measure not only cognitive abilities, but also the degree of his honesty. He was an upperclassman, quite intelligent, scored exceptionally well in math and verbal ability and was laughing at how easily he saw through the attempts to unveil his veracity. Yesterday, a Facebook friend posted about Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai writing, “The coronavirus fear-mongering by the Deep State will go down in history as one of the biggest frauds to manipulate economies, suppress dissent, & push MANDATED Medicine!” His source was the heavily “right” leaning, conservative Western Journal. Obviously, every situation, every assessment test, has a wide variety of interpretations about truth. Looking at alternative sources is called Lateral Reading, a fact checker tool!  

Today we have an incredible array of instruments available, formal and informal assessments, to give us clues about test takers.   As helping professionals, our task is to ensure the appropriate use of assessment, research, and evaluation techniques. We have to consider with our “customers” the purpose of assessment, what we want to measure and why, and help in the process of exploration. We need to acquire and elicit an understanding of assessment devices that claim to measure strengths, personality preferences, work values and a host of various other options.

Using a test professionally in the Career Development or Employment Process undoubtedly is related to a theory which holds some truth for us or the person we are serving. When I wrote my Thesis on Employment Counseling back in 1975, I took many of the major assessments available at the time and wrote about their value in relationship to me. The experience was quite enlightening.

Hopefully we consult with colleagues to hear about the value they have experienced using such tools with their clients. I know members of the Association for Research and Assessment in Counseling who revel in reading about the validity and reliability of standardized formal assessment, measuring algorithms, contemplating design, accuracy and scientific approach. Many libraries offer access to the Mental Measurements Yearbook containing information and critical evaluations, pros and cons, of educational and psychological tests.  

Assessment products are quite diverse in Career Counseling and yet, often we see many of the same components. O*NET is the federal government’s Occupational Information System, our country’s primary source of occupational information.  It also contains an Interest Profiler, Work Importance Locator, Work importance Profiler, Skills Search and Ability Profiler and many pathways of interconnection.  Because its creation was funded by tax payer dollars, everything is open source and free of charge. Many companies have created their own systems for sale using O*NET components. If you have taken a Counseling Theory class, you are familiar with the Self Directed Search , based on John Holland’s RIASEC Theory, the classification of people and environments into six basic types.  Career Key , is quite popular in College Counseling Centers, focusing on finding a college major in relationship to career, incorporating RIASEC.

As a Baby Boomers, I remember in elementary school, sticking a pin through answers about preferences in a packaged paper tool called the Kuder  preference test. Today the online Kuder Journey is popular in Military Career Counseling and many school systems. Fun assessments, some with considerable sophistication, start early in life. The Northwest Evaluation Association is a nonprofit that offers a large list of digital tools for teachers on their NWEA Blog.   

Helping people tell their story is clearly at the core of the assessment process. We know the medical professionals give us forms to get our past history and ask us questions about how we feel and observe our actions. Consciously and unconsciously we all are measuring body language and emotional expressions.  In career counseling, tools like the Genogram help look at family history and the possible influences of our relatives and ancestors. Mind Mapping is a process of drawing associations, starting from anywhere, and continuing to construct paths in any direction, as relationships and ideas come into our mind. Electronic Portfolios expand beyond the resume and give us the opportunity to assess who we are as we display talents and personal creations.

Moving away from cognitive approaches, more artistic practitioners find that Music, Art, Sand Tray and other non-verbal approaches can provide considerable insights as assessment tools. Medical School Education is also now embracing a more artistic curriculum, “Professors argue that engaging in the arts during medical school, whether through required courses or extracurricular activities, is valuable in developing essential skills that doctors need, like critical thinking and observational and communication skills, as well as bias awareness and empathy.” ~ Artsy.com

When our lives are too hectic, we have too large a case load or are responding to a medical crises with a sence of urgency looming above in a very dark cloud, the stress can be overwhelming. Self-care is mandatory and at minimum short breaks for positive meditative visualizations are my prescription.  

Assessment begins as soon as we begin to collect information. Hopefully our intake procedure and that of our front line coronavirus warriors is well designed and we all are asking the right questions. When we engage, from a sociological perspective, we can consider environmental and cultural influences that might be in play. However, from a psychological perspective we must never forget that a unique individual is before us. By establishing a trusting relationship and asking questions for clarification and actively listening, their world will unfold into our consciousness.

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.    ~   Michelangelo

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Cultivate Artistry


All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages. ~ William Shakespeare

During sophomore year in High School I was challenged in World History by one of the best teachers I would ever encounter.  One day he asked if anyone wanted to teach a class and I raised my hand. I was afraid I might stumble and get laughed at and it did happen. But, at the end of my presentation, the class clapped for me and I was hooked. I joined the drama club and performed one of the leads in our club play.

I attended undergraduate school at the University of Miami and received an incredible social education. Unfortunately, on the academic side of the equation, I was placed on academic probation after my first semester in school and entered my senior year in danger of not achieving the “ 2.0 C” average needed to graduate. There was a drama professor who provided the pathway that allowed me to graduate, raising my average to exactly one more credit of B than D. I took every undergraduate course he taught and with special permission, a graduate course in playwriting. In every first class he announced that if a student missed a class their highest grade was a B, two classes a C, three classes a D, four classes a failure, no exceptions. There were no written tests. He evaluated by questioning and interacting with the students. With perfect attendance, the lowest grade would be a B, and adequate participation guaranteed an A!  In all his classes, he would call upon students, give them a scenario, and elicit an impromptu display of “acting.”   For example, “Michael and Michele, you are 80 years old in rocking chairs on a porch, reminiscing about your lives. Do it.”   I ended up Minoring in Drama. In Playwriting, I wrote a one man adaption of the play from High School, delivering a performance to the class on the last day before winter break, including an arranged and immediate upon completion, early exit from class, “to catch a plane home.”  I listened to a robust accolade as I departed. When we are really good and capture an audience, it feels fantastic and making a dramatic exit is showmanship!

I took the Graduate Record Examinations my junior year at the University of Miami with quite pathetic results. Eight years later, with my 2.03 undergrad record, I was turned down for admission to graduate school at Glassboro State College (now Rowan University). However, admissions allowed me to take a couple of courses as a non-matriculated student to prove ability. One of the courses was “History During the Time of Christ,” taught by a non-Christian Scholar. We read the Gospels included in the New Testament and he told us “what we know” about the authors and those to whom they were writing. We also considered many of the apocryphal gospels, those not considered to contain authentic information by the church leaders of the time. Of course I was trying to prove myself so I was ready for the first exam and dutifully constructed answers to the essay questions. I received a B minus with the comment that what I wrote looked a lot like what he delivered during the classes and he would not be so lenient in the future if I was unable to provide my own thoughts about what we were exploring.   

Heck, he has the ability to make topics I did not even think I cared about interesting...that is talent. ~ C Katherine DeStefano PhD, describing Michael C. Lazarchick

So Niels Bohr is credited with saying that an expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field. I took risks and started making my public speaking mistakes very early in life, and evolved, each time finding new solutions to perfect my craft and build in mechanisms to ensure outstanding results. My experience grew as I delivered workshops and training sessions daily for years in my work helping people explore employment, often more than one group a day.

I have spoken in a wide variety of venues, from very short to hours long on a fairly wide of topics. I have so much confidence that if asked, I will deliver a presentation to virtually any audience on any topic, with a few minutes prep time,  if that is all we have.  I learned how to entertain, to be an actor and draw from my truth about what that means. I have short humorous stories, jokes, I am very experienced at delivering and do explore options when I have information about those expected to attend. Laughter releases endorphins, endogenous morphine, natural, healing, feel good drugs. I became familiar with the basics of body language and give thought to the environment and composition of each audience. If people exhibit any type of distraction, I will interact and attempt to bring them into the presentation with gentleness and skill.

There are many actions or situations that provide an opportunity to “teach.”  When I delivered One Stop Orientations, mandatory for individuals collecting unemployment insurance or on public assistance, the letter “inviting” participation instructed people to come on time to avoid a possible disruption of their benefits, in bold highlighted text. Because I had no idea what obstacles people overcame to showing up late, I kept the door open for 15 minutes. When a new person arrived they got my attention and I stared with why are you late? I would address their circumstances and perhaps offer options to ensure being on time for scheduled events. I might tell them they were creating a distraction or showing disrespect for those who did show on time. I would always ask the audience if we should let them in, of course adding the possible loss of benefits, if we did not. I became quite capable of manipulating a suitable level of discomfort and comfort, acting with honesty from the heart.

I continually explore the views of others on techniques that improve delivery and capture the attention of audiences. One of Many on the Subject. However, I embrace the non-traditional thoughts and resources that offer to bring new ideas and sometimes healing into my work. For example, Neurologic Music Therapy has shown remarkable positive results serving people with disabilities, using rhythmic pattern of sound to turn on or stimulate inactive areas in the brain.   Some Research from the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function  I know I get pleasant feeling listening to music that was popular at my high school dances and there has been significant research for years about the value to just about everybody of Listening to Music. I was at a workshop with hearing impaired individuals, laughing with joy, expressing wonder, feeling the vibrations on the floor from playing music. When the right sounds are in the air, people move, people dance.

My Graduate School Professor gave me a B for one of, if not the greatest efforts, I have ever delivered in a classroom. He also gave me the understanding that everyone has their own unique understanding about reality. When we listen to others, it helps them understand as they express their thoughts. Ultimately however, we must form our own opinion and express our views, for our own understanding.

I love being on stage and I write often. Communications, both written and verbal, come easy to me, with significant natural talent, lots of experience and dedication to pursuing excellence. When we bring our gifts to a level of artistry, we unleash magnificent creativity and honor the consciousness of an evolving, living, energy filled universe.     

Every action in our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity. ~ Edwin Hubbel Chapin

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Barmaid Teaches the Young Counselor a Lesson!



The sailors come off the ship after months out at sea. They come to a bar sign, walk down a short flight of concrete steps and enter a dark, dank establishment. There is loud and foul language in the air. The establishment does not smell clean.  An aging barmaid with excessive, perhaps garish make-up, clearly looking older than her real age, is serving shots of booze and beer. When we hear her speak words we detect a crudeness and probable lack of education.

This is the woman that was sitting across from me, on public assistance, needing a plan for reemployment. It was Friday the end of a long work week. It was early in my career.  My experience and skills were very limited. Since she had not finished high school, I ask her if she wanted to attend the Learning Center for a GED.  She laughed and asked me if I was serious. No one had ever offered her further education or even suggested training. I told her, "Of course. You can go over to the community college, take the placement test and begin study on Monday." She took the referral.

When I entered my office Monday morning, the phone rang and the director of the learning center began rattling off reasons why my latest referral could not be accepted. 


  • She is barely reading at a fifth grade level. 
  • Her math skills are extremely limited, despite handling money and making change continually in her past work. 
  • She would be taking up space preventing other students with real potential from getting into the program.
  • She has no chance of being successful.
  • She was not appropriate.

I felt a little anger swell and it prompted me to threaten to pull out all of our business and financial support.  We paid when our customers got into the Center. My client got to start that day.

By the end of the week I was becoming increasingly nervous, thinking the director might talk to my supervisor in the Department of Labor Special Programs Office. I was the newest counselor in the WIN program fresh out of graduate school.  I did not have the power to carry out my threat and I did not want to be chastised for an inappropriate behavior. I visited the learning center to see how my client was doing and found her reading a book that looked much like the ones we used when my son was first learning to read. I made the decision to visit the Learning Center often, so that I could pull her out the moment she got frustrated.

Every time I visited, she was in her chair focusing on her work, day after day, week after week and the journey turned into months. I told her if she was feeling too much stress we could look for other options. She chose to continue the journey and did nothing that would cause removal.  I witnessed a transformation taking place. The Barmaid began to dress better, I suppose because of the environment and increasingly looked more and more like a student. It was nearly eight months after we first met that my client was accepted into Casino Security Guard Training. After passing her High School Equivalency exam, her options had expanded. She was placed easily into an entry level Casino Job and her first year income tripled her best year as a Barmaid. She stopped me on the street in Atlantic City and gave me a big hug.
  
Maybe her counselor experienced second thoughts and the Director was sure she could not succeed. But, not my Barmaid. She had no idea that she was incapable of earning a GED.   
   
I had to make a decision about whether it would impact how I felt about trusting people, and I decided I wasn't going to allow it to impact my outlook on trust, because I believe trust is a choice.  I've always given people the benefit of the doubt until they prove me otherwise. So, it just made me stronger in my conviction about that, but it also taught me never to put anything past anyone.  ~  Boris Kodjoe

#GCDF #Get Certified #Michael C. Lazarchick 

Monday, April 9, 2018

A Few Thoughts on Coaching and Counseling


The leaders of the American Counseling Association and its divisions finalized a definition of counseling back in 2010:
“Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education and career goals.”
My first real job was assistant recreational counselor. My uncle was the counselor and we went to the Ghetto in the nearby big city and delivered an after school program to get the disadvantages kids off the streets. We played basketball with the kids and my uncle offered guidance to those most in distress. The next summer I became a camp counselor for rich kids, taught swimming and played games with kids just a few years younger. I provided peer counseling as needed.
I earned my master’s degree in counseling in 1975 and worked as the only employment counselor in the Atlantic City public employment office before, during and after the advent of casino gambling. Developmentally, I have been doing this for a long, long time.
A HISTORY STORY: When the psychologists wanted to be licensed in the United States the psychiatrists, more or less, said they were not qualified. Later when the social workers wanted to be licensed, the psychologists and psychiatrists said they were not qualified. When the counselors wanted to be licensed the psychiatrist, psychologists and social workers said they were not qualified. Now that the Coaches are on the scene, again many of those who have become licensed say coaches are not qualified. While this is a simplistic story, it is a pattern that I have written about and with counselors, lived through. I was around when the counselor certification process began and all through the quest for a license. There was a time when anyone could call themselves a counselor and hang up a shingle and they did. In the United States now, in all 50 states, counseling is a licensed profession, so Coaches without the "needed credentials" cannot say they do counseling. I think, the day will come when all the coach associations join together to create all that is necessary for increased professional recognition. Right now they are just the new kids on the block. Of course, they are marketing themselves to be different than Counselors and suggesting that their approach is different. 
There is nothing that a Coach does that I have not done during my career. I have worked with homeless people and displaced professionals and everything in between.  How therapeutic or how directive I am depends upon the needs of the individual at my desk. I certainly hold people accountable for the decisions they make. I have provided business advice to employers and mediated disputes at their workplace. Needless to say, I am a far better counselor today than I was in 1975. Lots of formal education, numerous certifications, hundreds of hours of continuing education, presenting workshops and tons of experience, all lead to increased competency. Even at this stage in my career I encounter situations outside my expertise. I do not overstep my boundaries. I refer the person to someone with the required experience and education.
Just because someone owns a credential it does not mean they know what they are doing. The longer it takes to earn a credential, the less is the competition. If we have a natural talent for something or specific experience, that is good. In all cases, the more formal and informal education we have, the better we get.
Counselor Wendy Stubbs presented at a National Employment Counseling Association Conference back in 2002 on "Brief Career Counseling. I had many clients that I saw once or for very brief periods of time and Wendy helped me refine my approach.  Back then Life Coaching and Career Coaching had relatively little national attention.  She is now marketing herself as Dream Career Coaching because Coaching is quite popular and does not have any stigma about being in "therapy."  Look at what she presented and you will see a "Counseling Theory."  Do you also see something very similar to what Career Coaches might be doing today?       
Wendy Stubbs 2002 Presentation Summary   

#GCDF #Get Certified #Michael C. Lazarchick 







Sunday, July 2, 2017

Michael Managing the One Stop



It is through our compassion that we care for the dignity, well-being and integrity of every person around us. Our capacity to embody this quality, simple as it may seem, is the strength that can change the world around us. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

When I managed my One Stop my employees had three obligations which by the time I retired all of them could quote. In order of preference:


  •       Take care of yourself because I need you to be as healthy as possible.
  •       Take care of the customers because we are paid to serve their needs.
  •       Feed the computer because people who look at numbers determine our funding.

The door to my office was closed only when I needed to speak privately with someone. Anytime an employee came into my office I immediately stopped what I was doing and gave them my full attention (always). I actively listened to them and asked questions for clarification. When I assigned a task I gave the reasons why, expressed the expected outcomes and asked them to devise a plan of action. I assured them I was always available for questions and answers. If someone committed a travesty it was handled in private. If someone excelled they were acknowledged in public. I held a staff meeting every month. They heard what happened in state managers’ meeting, local workforce investment board meetings and local One Stop meetings. Employees were called upon to speak about what they were doing, especially with new programs. I finished every meeting with an inspiration message and thanked them for their efforts and often told them I was honored to be working with them. They heard what I was doing to resolve problems and I let them know if they had any ideas that I was always open for suggestions.

If they encountered a customer that was too difficult that person was brought to me and when appropriate the employee watched while I dealt with the customer. I facilitated groups and demonstrated techniques often, especially with new programs. There were times when we were short staffed and I handled the front desk. There was no task below my dignity. I modeled the expected work ethic and I have very high standards. I asked for a lot. They received a lot of praise and as much help as I could deliver.

When you meet anyone, remember it is a Holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat her you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in her you will find yourself or lose yourself. ~ T, 132 A course in miracles

It was very good that a licensed professional counselor was manager of the One Stop. By the end I was nearing 40 years of experience in the system and had held virtually every job on the way up. I had experienced good managers (and supervisors) and bad. I had made plenty of mistakes, but had also received more than my share of accolades. Perhaps most import, I was no longer having any problems with self-worth. Once we learn to love ourselves unconditionally the need to strike out at another human is greatly reduced. Once we are able to love others unconditionally, we have a better chance of getting closer to a truth.

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.~ Marcus Aurelius

#GCDF #Get Certified #Michael C. Lazarchick 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Romance on the High Seas 2016 Caribbean Wellness



“The concept of total wellness recognizes that our every thought, word, and behavior affects our greater health and well being. And we, in turn, are affected not only emotionally but also physically and spiritually.”     ~ Greg Anderson (American Wellness Project)


“Romance on the High Seas”  , NECA’s Valentine Cruise, featured two Wellness Presentations in the Sky Light Chapel on Deck 15. Dr. Michael Lazarchick entertained the audience with messages on the interplay of Body, Mind and Spirit and included experiential processes to enhance learning.  Drawn from both eastern and western traditions the purpose was to explore various models of “consciousness”  in a universe  composed of interconnected energies.  

 An opening joke elicited laughter and released endorphin into the body, natural healing drugs.  The group pondered a question extensively researched by Lissa Rankin, M.D.,  “What if you have the power to heal your body just by changing how you think and feel?”  Most counselors would agree that positive thinking and affirmations have long be on the path to healing, but Rankin and others now record actual changes in the body. The group enacted the “Wonder Woman” power  pose, increasing testosterone (strength) and reducing Cortisol (stress) according to Amy Cuddy’s research. 

Pursuing the idea that healing is easier when you engage your body, the group moved, felt energy and experienced a little qi gong. Everyone agreed that walking a half hour each day is now considered to be a good idea, especially as we age. Stretching and lifting a little weight helps our muscles to continue to perform. If something hurts, your body is telling you to stop!

Most believe we can do or eat just about anything if we do so in moderation. Yet, we are each unique and there is significant literature (for example: Albert Ellis ABC Theory)  that tell us our perceptions depend upon our beliefs.  It was suggested that whatever we believe, the universe will prove it to us. Furthermore, the older we get the greater is our tendency to believe that our views are correct.  

Cruises offer lots of food and even the most disciplined are tempted to stray from their normal consumption habits. An ideal diet (to shed excess pounds and avoid western diseases) was described as primarily whole food fruits and vegetables, from local sources we know that do not use pesticides or artificial fertilizers, with some dairy and even less meat (both from grass fed pastured animals) . Absolutely avoid processed foods with added sugars and salt. Understand that eating raw fermented foods revitalizes and restores active good bacteria in the gut. So how did the presenter rationalize eating desert every night after dinner? If you really believe something is good for you it quite likely is and of course, if you really receive happiness and joy from eating something really tasty, isn’t that good for you? The comment elicited laughter and that was healthy.
From a discussion of the energetic body, to mindfulness meditation, chanting the Om and seeing a demonstration of Applied Kinesiology, the presentations covered a wide variety of concepts. The time flew by and no one was expected to accept anything that did not fit into their personal understanding of the universe.  There was one universal truth. Cruising the Caribbean starting on Valentine Day seemed to be a rejuvenating experience for all in attendance.  

  For more links to concepts  See 2016 Wellness Presentations at http://mlazarchick.com

Healthy personality is manifested by individuals who have been able to gratify their basic needs through acceptable behavior such that their own personality is no longer a problem to their self. They can take their self more or less for granted and devote energies and thoughts to socially meaningful interests and problems beyond security or lovability or status.          ~   SIDNEY MARSHALL JOURARD

#GCDF #Get Certified #Michael C. Lazarchick